According to some media reports in Colombia, as the end of the first year of Gustavo Petro’s government approaches, changes are being prepared in some ministries of the national government. Semana and El Tiempo report, citing sources from the Casa de Nariño, that some ministers will be removed from their positions in the coming weeks.
The government with the most ministerial changes
All this comes at a time when echoes of the latest departure from the government, that of the Minister of Mines and Energy, Irene Vélez, are still being heard. Vélez, who resigned from her position 10 days ago, left the government stating that she was “stepping down to avoid the investigations against me interfering with the execution of the Government’s program.” Vélez was referring to two cases of alleged corruption from before she assumed her ministerial position.
Previously, there were two major shake-ups in the council of ministers. The first was in February when Alejandro Gaviria (Education), María Isabel Urrutia (Sports), and Patricia Ariza (Culture) were dismissed. The second and more significant one was in April when Alfonso Prada (Interior), José Antonio Ocampo (Finance), Cecilia López (Agriculture), Carolina Corcho (Health), Guillermo Reyes (Transport), Sandra Urrutia (ICT), and Arturo Luna (Science and Technology) were removed from their positions. In this second case, the controversies surrounding health and agrarian reforms were the triggers. Petro said that some parties in the government coalition did not support the reforms enough.
Rumors and controversies
The news has not been confirmed by the government. However, journalistic sources consider the new changes to be a done deal. Some changes are allegedly motivated strictly by politics, such as the case of the current Minister of Finance, while others are due to government controversies. Although for now, everything is still rumors, up to 5 ministers are said to be affected, two of whom have been in their positions for only 3 months.
The ministers allegedly affected are:
- Luis Fernando Velasco, Minister of Finance since May 2023.
- William Camargo, Minister of Transport since May 2023.
- Álvaro Leyva, Foreign Minister since August 2022.
- Catalina Velasco, Minister of Housing since August 2022.
- Iván Velásquez, Minister of Defense since August 2022.